The Wirral News. Has somebody decided that Wirral Council scandal will not be printed?

03 08 13 - wirral news blog post

2nd August 2013

The Wirral News is a Trinity Mirror publication.

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/363196697557479424/photo/1

“At the Wirral News, we pride ourselves in journalism that is honest, accurate and fair.  Our journalists adhere to the Editors Code of Practice, which sets the benchmark for high professional standards and is enforced by the Press Complaints Commission.  If we do slip up, we promise to set the record straight on this page in a clear, no-nonsense manner.  To ask for an inaccuracy to be corrected, phone 0151 285 8476, email Group Editor, Andrew Edwards at andrew.edwards@trinitymirror.com or write to him at Trinity Mirror Merseyside, 48 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB”

Questions, questions… let’s formulate a few…

I rang the Wirral News this morning, asking to speak to Andrew Edwards.  He’s the person who deals with inaccuracies, corrections  and clarifications – I’m already unsure about how this would be classified  …dishonesty?  …a £commercial decision that sidelines the readership?

The lady on the phone said he’s away on holiday.  Fair enough, it’s that time of year.  I asked why Wirral Council’s scandal (the stuff of legend) hadn’t been covered since around February / March of this year.

Her position seemed to be “We cover it in the Wirral edition of the Liverpool Echo don’t we?” (the Echo is also a Trinity Mirror publication).

“So, I have to pay for my scandal?”

Laughter.  It was a good-natured conversation largely, and she was kind enough to take my details and promised to follow it up today with the on-duty content editor, who’ll be calling me back …hopefully today.

I’ll have a look at this “Editors’ Code of Practice” and see whether they’re allowed, within a host of publications, to issue one (the Wallasey version) which fills itself with the usual broad scope of stories, but omits all mention of anything which calls the local council into question.  Can a paper which doesn’t DO Labour council scandal also allow the Mayor to churn out half a page of one way traffic and the local MP Angela Eagle (Labour Party) to do similar on a regular basis?

I fear it may be the same story for Birkenhead / Frank Field.

This is NOT balanced – and people shouldn’t have to buy ANOTHER publication from the Trinity Mirror stable to achieve that balance.  This could be interpreted as manipulation.

  • Do the Wirral News / Trinity Mirror accept that this is the case – no council scandal printed for 3 or 4 months?
  • Do Trinity Mirror have to be balanced in this way, ‘honest’ and ‘highly professional’ across all publications?
  • Can Trinity Mirror deliberately ‘slip up’ and omit all mention of inconvenient stories within one specific publication?
  • How much is the Council’s advertising budget within the Wirral News?
  • Were there any meetings between senior officers of the council and senior executives of Trinity Mirror earlier this year?
  • Are Trinity Mirror manipulating content in order to improve sales of Wirral’s Liverpool Echo?
  • Is it time once again to test the mettle of the Press Complaints Commission?

3rd August 2013

Nothing heard yet from Andrew Edwards.

Having quickly read the Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code of Practice, I might be onto a loser here.  This kind of situation doesn’t seem to be covered by it.  I’ll ring them on Monday and try to find out some more.  It could be the case that newspaper editors can put what they like into their publications, online or otherwise, and it’s only the printed content that has to meet these standards.

But if that is the case, there’s room for manipulation by advertisers, or those with a commercial or reputational interest, over what ends up being printed in the paper.

UPDATE   30th December 2013

Wow… it seems the #WirralFail council leader has been ACCEPTING “gifts & hospitality – Including a Premier League football ticket from er… Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Wirral News…

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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4 Responses to The Wirral News. Has somebody decided that Wirral Council scandal will not be printed?

  1. chiara1421 says:

    It seems that the Warrington Guardian are more then happy to speak out about their council’s shortcomings. I am holding my tongue pending an appeal against dismissal but will waste no time blowing my whistle to the Guardian about breaches of H&S, disability discrimination, bullying and harassment once the appeal is over. I won’t win and can’t afford a tribunal but I’ll make sure that Warrington residents know how corrupt and lazy senior management are. Reading your blog and Wirralleaks has been inspiring. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your comments. I’m extremely pleased you’ve found some help within this blog. That’s one of the primary reasons for doing it in the first place, along with exposing the bullies and abusers. When you’re involved in these difficulties with an employer, they’re life changing – and the sense of isolation can be almost unbearable, particularly when former colleagues’ self-interest takes over and they end up toeing the party line… or worse, trying to further their own interests by attacking the person in trouble… the ultimate outcome being that the organisation populates itself with poisonous bullies and crooks.

    Good luck with your appeal.

    • chiara1421 says:

      My act of gross misconduct was to blog (anonymously) about the lack of risk assessments that led to my having an accident at work, and the appalling way management treated me once they found out (by snooping on my Facebook page) that I was intending to take out a personal accident claim against them. I was suspended for disclosing events in the workplace (getting my toe crushed by a falling crate) and disrespect towards management and colleagues under Dignity at Work. The fact that they breached at least eighteen of their own procedures as well as Disability and H&S protocols, lied to my solicitor and completely ignored any witness statements that were favourable to me – all irrelevant because they make the rules it seems. Once the appeal farce has been concluded, there’s a book ready for Kindle Publishing and I will give the Warrington Guardian their interview. Warrington council has been very much in the news recently over their disastrous drugs campaign alleging that cannabis is far more dangerous than heroin. No reliable stats to support it and a huge outcry from those seeking to legalise cannabis . It cost the Warrington taxpayer £1500, caused huge embarrassment due to the use of social media to publicise the campaign, and broke just about every element of the new social media procedure (written because of me but not approved in time to be effective). Warrington is my second LA employer and my last. I spent ten years working for Hampshire and they were just as bad. Local government stinks – but you know that! Onward and Upward!

      • So sorry to hear about your experiences. I think with this £1,500 levy now being applied to Employment Tribunals and recently becoming law, there’ll be a rash of stories like yours making it into the press. What other option do people have? Most of us simply cannot afford to purchase a chance of gaining justice.

        Employee disputes and difficulties have been characterised as largely ‘vexatious’, ‘malicious’ or ‘brought upon themselves’ by politicians of all parties, backed up by the gung-ho “Littlejohn” end of the national media. It’s a similar situation to e.g. benefit fraud, where the actual ‘problem’ is known to represent a vanishingly small proportion of the whole.

        The truth about employer bullying, the breaching of their own internal policies / procedures, and their ongoing abusive behaviour is becoming lost… because wealthy vested interests and lobbyists have pushed fair and dignified government, and the chances of effective representation back. Unions also have a hell of a lot to answer for with their frequent betrayal of their own members.

        Employees have ended up being bound into a virtual straitjacket, and are now largely unable to fight back when things go wrong.

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